Linux Video Drivers: Open vs Closed Source (Part 1)

By default, Ubuntu ships with the open-source version of the AMD graphics driver, and you can download the fglrx closed-source driver which is made by AMD for AMD cards. The question is, is it worth getting the closed-source driver?

To find out I did some testing. I used Phoronix Test Suite to run the Unigine Valley benchmark 3 times to get an average. The specs of the test PC are below:

  • AMD Phenom II X4 965 @ 3.6GHz
  • AsRock M3A790GXH/128M
  • 8GB OCZ Gold 1333 MHz
  • XFX HD5750 1GB

I ran the benchmark first with the open-source driver:

Screenshot - 080415 - 21:11:56

Average was 14.17 FPS. Next, I installed fglrx-updates and ran the test again:

Screenshot - 080415 - 21:29:13

And now the average is 19.21 FPS, which is an improvement of 35%! Stay tuned though, I will be testing more games and applications in the not-too-distant future…

Old vs new: QuadCore Wars!
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